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Another ‘A’ Credit Rating for Malta

Another ‘A’ Credit Rating for Malta by Fitch Ratings Inc.

Fitch, the global leader in credit ratings and research, has affirmed Malta’s rating at ‘A’ based upon key drivers such as the high national income per head when compared with the ‘A’ median, a vigorous economic growth and a large net external creditor position. Fitch has based its positive rating in view of a downward trajectory in the ratio between public debt/GDP and an outperformance with similarly rated peers in economic growth. The only restrictive condition to the ratings were the continuous structural bottlenecks as featured by the weak World Bank Ease of Doing Business indicator.

It is reported that the past year had a strong economic growth at 3.9% when compared with the first three quarters of 2015, boosted by robust private consumption. Fitch forecast a continuing growth in the Maltese economy at a faster pace than that of the ‘A’ median at an average of 3.3% over the years 2017/2018. Strong employment growth, rising disposable income due to continuous wage appreciation and the launch of new investment projects in the health, education and transportation sectors are all seen as prime drivers behind this growth of the Maltese economy.

A strong export performance in the pharmaceutical, remote gaming, financial services and tourism sectors will aid in sustaining a solid current account surplus over 2017-2018.

The rating agency also makes reference to the fall in the gross general government debt from 60.8% of GDP in 2015 to an estimate 59% of GDP at the end of 2016, mainly due to high revenues from excise duties, income tax and the International Investor Program. The report goes on to mention decreases of around 0.2% from 2016 to 2017 in the fiscal deficit, a boost in tax revenues brought by robust economic growth and additional indirect tax measures. Government-guaranteed liabilities which are amongst the highest in the EU at 14.8% of GDP are set to decrease to 11.9% of GDP at the end of 2017 when the temporary guarantee granted to ElectroGas expires.

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